First PPN of 2023 published - on Contracts Finder transparency requirements

The government has published its first PPN of 2023 - PPN 01/23 (replacing PPN 09/21).

This PPN confirms the changes that we blogged about just before Christmas, brought into force by a set of regulations which have amended the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015).

The updated guidance is a reminder to all contracting authorities of the obligations in respect of below-threshold contracts:

  • (if the contract is being advertised in any way) to publish a similar contract notice to Contracts Finder within 24 hours;
  • to publish to Contracts Finder contract award notices within 30 days of the contract award date (for central government authorities) and within 90 days of the contract award date (for sub-central authorities) - note that this applies to contracts called off from a framework or DPS as well as “ordinary” public contracts;
    • the “contract award date” here is defined as the date the contract is signed by the final party to sign; and
  • for central government bodies to publish awarded contracts to Contracts Finder (with appropriate redactions).

In the light of the changes to the thresholds mentioned above, the de minimis values for the above obligations are now £12,000 (inclusive of VAT) for central government bodies and £30,000 (inclusive of VAT) for sub-central authorities. No publication is required below these levels.

Although NHS Foundation Trusts are now defined in schedule 1 of the PCR 2015 as central government authorities, the updated regulations and this updated guidance make it clear that (for these purposes only) it is the £30,000 threshold which applies to NHS Foundation Trusts, and that they have the full 90 days from contract award date to publish contract award notices to Contracts Finder. The guidance confirms too that the obligations to publish redacted copies of contracts does not apply to NHS FTs (nor to NHS Trusts).

The guidance reminds us that these obligations to publish to Contracts Finder do not apply (1) where the contracting authority is a maintained school/academy/college or (2) where the contract is for clinical health services for the purposes of the NHS.

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